MANILA, February 12, 2004 (STAR) By Sandy Araneta - Bureau of Customs (BOC) officers have seized some P30 million worth of illegal drugs, pirated video compact discs (VCDs) and digital video discs (DVDs) at two Customsí bonded warehouses at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) complex.

Seized by Customs agents were 1,800 tablets of Mogadon (5 mg Nitrazepam) and 146,530 tablets of Valium (10 mg Diazepam), both classified as dangerous drugs, contained in one carton weighing 50 kilos which came from Lahore, Pakistan and consigned to a Pakistani national.

Customs agents under Col. Jose Yuchongco, chief of the Customs police division and project manager of the scanning unit at the Philippine Skylanderís Inc. (PSI) bonded warehouse and MIASCOR warehouse, said Mogadon is being used as a replacement for Ecstasy, another illegal drug.

The illegal drugs were estimated at P10 million, Yuchongco said.

He said those involved in the shipment of the illegal drugs would be charged in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002 and the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).

Yuchongco said he made representations with the embassy of Pakistan to ascertain if the name of the consignee and address appearing in the airway bill were correct and existing, preparatory to an investigation directed by Customs Commissioner Antonio Bernardo and Deputy Commissioner Ray Allas.

Both Bernardo and Allas were present when the shipments were opened at the warehouses.

On the other hand, some 709 kilos of pirated VCDs and DVDs have been intercepted by Customs agents led by Yuchongco since December 2003.

The pirated discs came in three separate shipments.

The shipments, that arrived on various dates from Malaysia and Indonesia, were declared as electrical parts and consigned to fictitious names and non-existent addresses.

Yuchongco said the interception of the shipments containing pirated VCDs and DVDs, as well as the illegal drugs, were conducted by the Customs agents in compliance with the directives of Bernardo and Allas to closely monitor importations that violate the TCCP and the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Law.

Final disposition by the Customs authorities and the Videogram Regulatory Board officials is still being awaited.

In Manila, government agents seized 30 kilos of high grade shabu concealed in a shipment of general merchandise at the Manila International Container Port.

Elements of the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency intercepted a 40-foot container van that was unloaded last night. ó With Non Alquitran, Rey Arquiza

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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